PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — A $200 million package of loans and grants for housing infrastructure has made it through the South Dakota House of Representatives on the third try.
The 48-22 vote for HB 1033 came one day after the Senate passed it 35-0. Various versions had previously fallen one short of the two-thirds majority of 47 needed on special appropriations bills.
“Let’s get this across the finish line once and for all, and we can be happy about it,” House Republican leader Kent Peterson of Salem urged just before the decisive roll call.
“This is a golden opportunity to move South Dakota forward,” Representative Hugh Bartels, R-Watertown, added.
The bill now goes to Governor Kristi Noem, for her decision whether to sign it into law. The South Dakota Housing Development Authority would receive $100 million of state general funds for a revolving loan program, as well as $100 million — $50 million of state general funds and $50 million of federal COVID-19 recovery funds — for grants.
The governor under state laws has control of the authority. The governor appoints its executive director, sets that person’s salary, and appoints its seven commissioners. The authority is attached to the Governor’s Office of Economic Development for reporting purposes. Its budget is informational, similar to most of the state Department of Game, Fish and Parks, and outside direct control by the Legislature. Its designated powers include infrastructure such as sewers, utilities, streets, parks, site preparation and landscaping.
Moving to the yes column Tuesday were Fred Deutsch, R-Florence; Mary Fitzgerald, R-Spearfish; and Kevin Jensen, R-Canton.
Arch Beal, R-Sioux Falls, switched to the no side. Representative John Mills, R-Volga, tried to get a conference committee appointed instead, but that attempt was rejected 46-24.
“It was fully vetted,” Bartels said. “We kind of had a carousel of confusion the other day, and we’ve addressed all the confusing points.”
Rapid City and Sioux Falls would be limited to 30% of the funds and would have to choose between a loan and a grant. Their inclusion bothered Representative Liz May, R-Kyle. “There’s still this big concern in my neck of the woods – the small towns, they can’t afford the loans,” May said. “Why is the top cities even in the equation?”
Representative Tina Mulally, R-Rapid City, said there’s a dispute over responsibility for housing infrastructure between the governments for the city and Pennington County in the three-mile zone outside Rapid City. She urged defeat of the bill.
“We’ve killed it several times. Let’s do it again,” Mulally said.